Monday, May 30, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

I quite honestly don’t even know where to begin. Jackson has been with us for six and a half days, and I still don’t even know where to begin to try to articulate the incredible jumble of emotions my heart is trying to hold right now.

Saturday morning, I was up around 4:00 in the morning and, once again, I heard our crazy neighborhood birds chirping away as if they had no idea it was still dark. Last time I wrote about the birds, I had awoken because my very pregnant body needed to go to the bathroom and afterwards, I couldn’t turn off my brain, thinking about my sweet daughter who died and my sweet son who was yet to be born, so very puzzled as to how to keep mothering them both when I would only have one of them physically with me. I wrote about living in the world in between the very darkest hours of grief, those long ones deep in the middle of the night where the sadness weighs so heavily and keeps you from sleep, and the early morning hours where the sun is on the horizon and the sky is turning pink as a new day is born. That night, I was living in that in-between world. Like those birds, I knew that at least for now, the darkest part of the night was past and that the sun was on its way, even though I could not yet see it. I knew that at any given moment, I could still be yanked back into the dark and yet the promise of the light somehow made that possibility seem less horrible. I knew that one day soon, I would see the pink sky again.

Unlike last time, I heard the birds on this Saturday morning because I was up to feed a beautiful and hungry little boy, a tiny, impossibly soft-skinned, heavenly smelling creature, an incredible manifestation of the love my husband and I have for each other and for our firstborn child who was so cruelly taken from us a year ago. I heard the birds and I smiled, realizing, maybe for the first time, that morning has come again. The sun is peeping from its perch on the edge of the world and telling me it’s time to wake up and live again. When Jackson emerged from my body after those insane final fifteen minutes of my labor with him, when I reached down and pulled him up on to my chest, I felt it instantly. I don’t know that I realized it at the time—I was too overcome with shock and relief and disbelief that it all went so fast and that he was actually here—but in that second, I felt real joy for the very first time since Hudson died. After so many months of being a mother with no living child, of feeling so very useless with no object for all my mothering instincts and skills, after all that, the very weight of that little body on mine, that stunned little cry meant just for me as a sign that I was needed again—the feeling was absolutely exquisite. And in the many moments since then, as I have snuggled this precious little boy close, nursed him for many hours of the day, held him in my arms as he sleeps, rocked him gently to soothe his worries, and looked into his bright eyes, I have finally been able to imagine a future that seems liveable, a future where the joy will never, ever erase the pain, but will at least soften its edges and make it more bearable. Because the fact is, it already has.

And yet, even as I just wrote these words, the tears started to fall again. Because even though I know in my heart that nothing will ever separate me from Hudson, and even though I now know that my heart can hold all the love in the world for her and Jackson and any future children we have, there is also no doubt that my relationship with her has changed. It had to. Just like when she was born, much of my time is now consumed by meeting her little brother’s needs, and I don’t have the leisure of shutting the world out whenever I need to spend some special time with just Hudson, to be alone and cry with her pictures and stuffed animals and books. Of course, my relationship with her would have changed if she were still living, too—certainly I know that. But in that case, I would still get to hug her tight and laugh at her silliness and soothe her tears and teach her how to be a big sister and watch her grow up—we’d just be doing it in a new way. As it is, I still don’t think I’ve fully grasped that I will never get to do those things with her again, that while I will get to mother more children, I will never get to mother Hudson again, only her memory and spirit. Which could never be enough.

Many times during those early months when I was at home with Hudson on maternity leave, moments when I’d be so eager for her to reach a new milestone and start being more interactive, I remember reminding myself that I should cherish this time and stop looking ahead so much, because I would never get this kind of time with an infant again. The next time I had one, I’d have a toddler running around the house, too—still an amazing experience, but a very different one. As she got older, I started really looking forward to this time, knowing that it would mean getting to spend some extra time with her at home while I was on leave, knowing that she’d be able to provide some much-needed fun and comic relief (and certainly no small measure of frustration, too, I’m sure) during these early, rather isolating infant days with her younger sibling. And now here I am, two and a half years later, alone with a newborn again, and no big sister to “help” me take care of him. To an outsider, it looks as though someone just pressed a fast-forward button from December 2008 to May 2011, skipping over everything in between, as though Ed and I are taking strolls in the neighborhood with our firstborn child. And that is hard.

The realization that she is gone, that she will never be here with us, with Jackson, is still hitting me in waves. We took several photos of her with us to the hospital, and Ed carefully placed them throughout the room where I was laboring so that I could look at them when I needed or wanted to, checking each photo with me to be sure I could see it. But within a few minutes after we got there, my contractions got significantly more intense and my body and mind were consumed with the hard work of labor. And then, so very suddenly, Jackson was in my arms, and my body and mind were consumed with falling in love all over again with a tiny baby. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes after he was born, when he was contentedly nursing in my arms, that I looked up and saw, just beyond the foot of the bed, the photo of Hudson in the meadow at the Arboretum, the one where she is just barely smiling with those wise eyes, that it hit me. I remembered. And then my mind and my body were consumed with longing for my girl, full with such sorrow that she will never get to experience the love in that room with us, the love that still burns inside us for her and that now envelops her little brother, too. And I cried, all over my baby boy. A special and very different kind of baptism, I guess—another outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Hudson sharing herself with her little brother in a way that few other big sisters could. Ed sat beside me and held my hand. Our family of four.

There have been many more sad moments since that first one. Sitting in the postpartum room with Jackson on one side, warm and alive, and Hudson’s photos on the other—photos instead of a rambunctious toddler barreling into the room to see her Mommy only to quiet down in awe and confusion when she saw the tiny creature in Mommy’s lap. Putting Jackson on the changing table for the first time, telling him how tiny he is, and then remembering that the reason he looks so tiny is because the last little person whose diaper I changed there was so much bigger. Listening to the Bob Marley Rock-a-Bye Baby CD in the car and watching it calm him just like it used to calm Hudson immediately. Looking down sometimes while nursing Jackson and doing a double-take because I could almost be looking at Hudson two and a half years ago. I know these are only a few of the many, many more sad moments to come in this lifetime without Hudson.

But here is where those early morning birds come in. Because as sad as all of those moments are, and they are terribly sad, there is joy in them, too, because Jackson is there, bringing life back into our atrophied limbs and broken hearts, melting the places inside that have been so long frozen in grief, shining light into the darkest places in which we have lived for the past year. And even though she is not here in the way I desperately long for her to be, Hudson is here, too, and will always be. Morning is here, tentatively creeping its way into our world again.

Here comes the sun. Thank you, my sweet boy, for bringing it with you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Birth Day

I will write much, much more later (there is so very much to say as I try to process the enormous and nearly incomprehensible transition we’ve made over the last 48 hours), but for now I just wanted to let everyone know that our little Penguin, Jackson Edward Hitchcock Chaney, made his entry into the world almost two hours into his due date, at 1:45 AM on May 24, after 9 hours of unmedicated labor (only 3 of which were really hard) and about 5 minutes of total insanity that I will call pushing. It all went very fast and was an incredibly different, but equally powerful, experience from our birth with Hudson. This was a gift in many ways, I guess. Jackson looks so much like his big sister Hudson that it is almost breathtaking. This is most certainly a gift. The hours since he was born have been amazing in so many ways. Certainly I no longer harbor any doubts about the heart’s capacity to love and to grapple with extreme contradictions, even as it struggles to resolve them.

On Sunday night, after I’d finished up organizing and tidying Hudson’s and Jackson’s room, I said to Ed that maybe now Jackson would feel like we were really ready for him to come. Then I said, through my tears, that maybe I was the one who felt that way.

I started having contractions on Monday afternoon, within an hour of writing about my experience with their room.

So very much more to say, but I have a little boy to snuggle with and a little girl to grieve right now. I’ve posted a few photos (mostly from crappy phone cameras) until we can get the good ones uploaded.

And I can’t close this post without saying thank you, again, for everyone’s continued love and support, for loving and remembering our girl and loving and celebrating our boy. I don’t know how we’d be surviving this without you.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

My due date is tomorrow and still no sign of Jackson’s arrival yet. I’ve now been pregnant 8.5 days longer than I was with Hudson, who came 9 days early and surprised us all. My poor dad has been here since before Hudson’s remembrance at the Arboretum. We planned for him to just stay here until Jackson was born, both of us thinking it would be within that next week. And here we are, ten days later and no grandbaby. He and Ed have been working hard on all kinds of random repairs on the house (I’m calling it nesting, male-style) so at least lots of things around here look a ton better than they did before.

That’s the thing about waiting around for a baby (which I’ve never had to do before)—idle hands are hard, especially when what you are waiting for, in our case, is an event so very fraught with emotion. I’ve said here and to several others already that aside from my anxiety over Jackson’s well-being, the other main reason I am ready for him to get here is so that I can stop imagining what life is going to be like mothering a living child and a dead child together and just get on with doing it. It’s not that I am dreading becoming Jackson’s mother, not at all. It’s just that I have been wondering what this kind of mothering would be like for a very long year, ever since Hudson died and I was forced to start thinking about it. It is completely impossible to imagine how it will feel to try to embrace so much joy at the same time that I still feel so very much acute pain, so I want to stop trying and just KNOW. As much as I hate it sometimes, that is One Good Thing about life hurling me forward the way that it is, even against my will sometimes—so very often it happens that the living through things is not nearly as hard as the anticipation of living through them. There is a reason that the expression “ripping off the bandaid” has become a cliché.

Case in point, I have been sitting around waiting for so long for Jackson to arrive that I ran out of things to do. I washed all of his little baby things. I prepared several meals for the freezer. I got some sewing projects finished. I got his co-sleeper set up. I dropped off donations at Goodwill. I got the car inspected and got the oil changed. I got my hair cut. I got my toes done. I packed the suitcases for the hospital in the car. I made playlists on my iPod for labor (one soothing, one energizing). I did all kinds of things, until I had mostly run out of things to do.

The one thing I still hadn’t done was tackle Hudson’s (Jackson’s) room. It still lay in the same state of disarray it had been sitting in since I first washed all of Jackson’s clothes about four weeks ago. All the clothes under 12 months size were sorted by size into paper grocery sacks sitting on the floor, and all the bigger clothes were just stacked in a pile on top of a laundry basket full of Hudson’s books that we’d brought upstairs from the playroom a long time ago. The same sheet that Hudson slept on her last night at home was still on the crib mattress and her bears still lay in the crib with one of her blankets tucked over them, the way we’d placed them after we brought them home from the hospital. New gifts of books and wall hangings and stuffed animals sat wherever there was a place for them. The changing pad on the dresser was itself clean and cleared for diaper changes, but the basket next to it was still prepared for changing a toddler’s diapers, and there was barely a path on the floor to get to the changing table itself. On the floor by the dresser was a laundry basket full of newborn clothes that still had no room in any of the drawers because Hudson’s clothes are still in there.

So yesterday, on an impulse, I went in there planning just to deal with the clothes that were strewn about. We recently realized we had a chest outside Hudson’s room that we could put Jackson’s bigger clothes in, so I figured if I could just get those off the floor and get some of the bigger clothes put away somewhere, the room would be a little more accessible for diapering, at least. So I started moving the bags of clothes off the floor and into the chest outside the room. And then, once I started, I figured I would deal with the bigger clothes, too. I sorted them and bagged them, too, pulling out a few more things we were likely to use in the next 3-6 months for laundering, and put the big clothes in the chest. I put the clothes that still needed laundering in the hamper, where the last few outfits and jammies that Hudson ever wore sat, waiting to be cleaned one day. And then there was the question of what to do with the newborn clothes. A simple solution occurred to me. The bottom drawer of Hudson’s dresser was seldom used—usually for things she hardly wore, like a UNC basketball warm-up suit we got as a gift for her and sleep sacks that were too warm for the weather. Emptying that was easy. I put Jackson’s newborn clothes in there and then, instead of taking Hudson’s clothes out of the dresser at all, all I had to do was switch the top drawer, which still has all of Hudson’s things in it, with the bottom drawer, so that Jackson’s clothes could be easily reached. For now, then, as so many of you suggested, my kids can just share the dresser, at least until the time comes that I’m ready to do something else.  I took the whole hamper, Hudson’s clothes and all, down to the basement to wash.

Once the clothes were gone, I just kept going. I hadn’t planned to. I just did it. I looked at the top of the dresser where we changed diapers. The basket next to the changing pad was full of the detritus of caring for Hudson for 17 months and 12 days, and especially that final day at home: size four diapers, the same opened package of wipes we were working on last May (amazingly, only the top wipe was dried out), two kinds of diaper cream (we were still trying to figure out which worked best), 2 bottles of antibiotic eye drops from the multiple times Hudson had pink eye, some very old teething tablets and a tube of Orajel (neither of which we ever even used), a stick of California Baby face sunscreen, the baby fingernail clippers I’d used so many times with my sweet girl sitting on my lap, two bulb syringes, an inhaler and spacer that Hudson had needed once for a particularly nasty upper respiratory infection, the thermometer and thermometer covers and KY jelly I’d used every hour or so for most of the last 24 hours she spent at home, the CVS brand acetaminophen I’d bought to treat her nasty fever because all the Tylenol had been recalled, one of those baby medicine spoons, and a spare bottle of Aveeno baby soap and a travel-sized bottle I brought to the hospital after we knew Hudson would not survive and the nurse suggested we could bathe her in the hospital bed. I didn’t linger too much over these things—I knew if I did, I would get sucked into the vortex of the details of that last night at home when we had so little idea how very sick our little monkey was. I went through them matter-of-factly, throwing most everything away except for the clippers, the diaper cream, and the KY jelly. Everything else was either expired or would be replaced when necessary. I put the diapers and the Aveeno soap (we’re trying to switch to all fragrance-free stuff in the house) in a box of other baby things to give away. I put the few newborn-size diapers we had (hand-me-downs—we’re going to use disposables for a bit and then try cloth for the first time) in the basket, and all of a sudden, it was a changing table ready for Jackson.

Next was the crib. I took out Hudson’s bears and arranged them with all the other stuffed animals we’ve received for Jackson (several penguins and turtles and monkeys, as you might imagine) along the top and sides of the crib rail. He won’t be sleeping in there for some time anyway, so I’m not too concerned about them falling in. Once I took out the bears, I noticed a round stain on the crib sheet. Although it was probably just a urine stain that we had somehow missed (Hudson rarely wet through her clothes at night), I couldn’t help but wonder if it was some kind of sign that I had overlooked of how sick she was. Had she thrown up a little bit and I missed it? (On the day before we took Hudson to the doctor, when we were googling about her fever and her swollen eye, Ed had come across meningitis, but dismissed it since except for the fever, Hudson seemed to have none of the other symptoms, one of which is vomiting.) Again, I just couldn’t let my mind stay there—I took the sheet off and put it in the hamper with the other things to be washed. And it was just done.

Once the clothes were gone, all that was left were the books. I had stacks of books that we’ve received for Jackson (again, lots of them about penguins and several classics) and then a big laundry basket of Hudson’s books that used to live in her playroom downstairs. One by one, I tried to make room for them on the bookshelf. I put all of the penguin books on a shelf together. And then I put all of Hudson’s favorite bedtime books on one shelf together, hopefully for Jackson to enjoy, too. After all this, where I finally got tripped up was with this little set of baby-sized Sesame Street board books we’d gotten as a gift for Hudson. They’re about 3 inches by 3 inches, and each one has a different topic—counting, Elmo’s favorite words, big and small, what goes together, colors. I just sat and turned them over and over in my hands, remembering how perfectly they fit into Hudson’s little hands, remembering how much joy we both took from pointing out all the different words she knew.

It wasn’t until then that I cried. I cried all over again for all that we have lost, for all that Hudson is missing, for all that we are missing without her, for all that her little brother will miss without her, for our entire lives that will never be the same, for all the years we will have to spend wishing she were with us and wondering what she would be doing now.

And then it was over. The room looked clean and tidy and ready for a new baby. It looked like I imagine we’d have gotten it looking if Hudson were still alive. And I felt better. It’s now ready for Jackson to use, but Hudson is still very much there. She’s not gone. I had put this off for so long because I so feared that she wouldn’t be there anymore, but she is. She is in every little book her hands ever touched, in every stuffed animal she ever clutched or grinned at, in every tooth mark in the wood on the crib rail, in every glance into the little mirror we keep beside the changing pad for entertainment, in every rock of the rocking chair during a chorus of “Hark the Sound” before bedtime.

She is there. She is here. Always. I needn’t have feared. Just like everything else, the waiting was the hardest part. I know the same will be true once this sweet little boy is in my arms. We just have to get there.

Friday, May 20, 2011

No News

Just a quick drive-by to let everyone know that nothing is happening on the labor front yet. Maybe Jackson is waiting to be born on Judgment Day.

Thanks, everyone, for all the good thoughts and wishes you’ve been sending our way. We remain so grateful for the support.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I have now been pregnant for about three and half days longer than I was pregnant with Hudson, who arrived at 38 weeks and 5 days. Jackson is still wiggling around plenty, but he is apparently turned posterior (as evidenced by ultrasound and by the searing momentary pain I get in my lower back when he moves sometimes) and Monday’s sonogram estimates that he weighs 8lb13oz right now. His position and his (apparent) size may be keeping him from making his way further down. We had our first real blip on a non-stress test on Monday—my strip was “reassuring but non-reactive” meaning that his heartrate was accelerating with movements, but not accelerating as much as it’s supposed to. I think it probably really was just a blip, with no real import—when I go for those tests first thing in the morning, he always seems to be moving plenty before I get there and then as soon as they hook me up to the monitor he goes to sleep, so he moves very little and his heartrate stays pretty steady for the most part. At yesterday’s OB appointment, the doctor said I was about 2-3 cm along and he apparently stripped my membranes some while he was checking me in hopes it might get things going for me (he didn’t tell me he was going to do this beforehand, though, which was a bit odd, but I decided if it worked, I certainly wasn’t going to complain). But here I am, a day later, with no change at all. I definitely started having more contractions yesterday than I’d had before, but they never became regular or painful, and they appear to have disappeared altogether today. Holding pattern.
With all the anxiety I’ve had throughout this pregnancy, I’ve been so eager not to be pregnant anymore, especially as we started closing in on the end—when I hit 37 weeks, I said I was going to start a full-on labor induction campaign, doing all the natural things they say might help bring on labor. But two weeks later, I have yet to really do any of that—I still walk the dog once a day and have continued going to yoga, and I’m sitting on an exercise ball all the time now (in hopes of getting him to rotate), but other than that, I’m kind of just hanging tight and waiting. Yesterday, after a Facebook post about the OB appointment, people made several different suggestions, including acupuncture and essential oils. And yet here I am, a day later, having taken no more steps towards pulling the trigger on anything that might definitely get labor started.

It didn’t take a whole lot of pondering about this for me to understand it. I am definitely ready not to be pregnant anymore. I am also pretty ready to meet Jackson, too, I think. But what I am still not ready for is a mommy world without Hudson, a world where I have to learn to mother a living and deeply loved child right alongside a deceased and deeply loved child who we are still so actively grieving. Part of me is ready for Jackson to be born just so that I can stop wondering what this world is going to be like and just start living in it, but another part of me recognizes that his arrival is in some ways the ultimate act of moving forward without Hudson. As soon as he emerges, my attention will be diverted from her in a way that it hasn’t been while I’ve been pregnant—in many ways, the anxiety I’ve had over Jackson has been just another manifestation of my grief over Hudson, and therefore has been another thing keeping me tethered to her.

And yes, I know that all parents having a second child face this reality of how they can possibly divide their attention when that child arrives, how they can possibly love another as much as they love the first, but in my case, my older child is gone. Diverting my attention from her is so very different in that way, because bringing my attention back to her will never mean planning special outings for just her and me once a week or a special nighttime routine that we do just us together so that she knows how much she is still loved despite how much attention her brother is stealing from her. In my case, bringing my attention back to her will mean taking time for myself alone to cry and grieve and remember her, to stare at her pictures and wonder how it is possible that she is not with us, to tell her little brother stories about her and help him learn to say her name and point her out in photos. In my case, like other parents, my love for my second child will be very different than the love I have for my first, except that in my case, the biggest difference is that my oldest child is gone. And this reality still makes me so very sad that part of me is just not ready to proactively jump into it.

This morning I had a dream about Hudson. I haven’t dreamed about her in a while. She was in the arms of another couple and they were trying to coax her to come to me. She was her same 17-month-old self but she was speaking in full sentences, although it still sounded like a baby’s talk. I said, “Hudson, where’s Mommy?” and other things trying to get her to smile or come to me and she wouldn’t. Finally I had her in my arms and somehow I just knew that she was upset with me for abandoning her, for leaving her behind. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, “You hurt my feelings.” And I started to cry. I pulled her close to me into a tight hug and just said, “Oh, sweetie, I am so sorry I hurt your feelings. I am so, so sorry.” And I just kept repeating “I’m sorry” over and over into her ear as I snuggled her close. She hugged me back. It’s always nice to hug her in my dreams, even though this one was so very sad.

It’s so very strange when my dreams are as transparent as this one was. Even though we’ve been planning for this baby for almost a year and I’ve been pregnant for nine months and we’ve named him and bought him clothes and I’ve made him things and we’ve imagined many, many ways we’ll work hard for him to know who Hudson was, his actual arrival is just a whole other ball game. Soon he will be here in our arms and Hudson never will be again. In some ways, I expect it will feel like losing her all over again. And there is just no getting around that his birth will be a lurching movement forward without Hudson in a way that nothing else so far has been. And I feel awful about that, more so than I ever realized until just now. I don’t want to move forward without her, even though I know that I must. I don’t want to leave her behind in any way, but this reality doesn’t give me much of a choice. I can’t ever have her back and yet still I must move forward.

And all of a sudden, I’m no longer in a rush to do it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bubbles for Hudson

Oh, my.  Once again, everyone, there are just no words

Durham, NC


Pittsboro, NC

Beacon, NY


Houston, TX

Balloon Release for Hudson at St. Ann's

Staunton, VA

Richmond, VA

Hendersonville, NC

Greenville, SC

My Uncle Vince in Sarasota, FL

Virginia Beach, VA

Snoqualmie, WA

Charlotte, NC

Portland, OR

Stonybrook, NY

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC

Wilmington, NC

Alexandria, VA

Johns Creek, GA

Austin, TX

Sacramento, CA

Bluffton, SC

Charlotte, NC

Holly Springs, NC

Old Well, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Arlington, VA

Chicago, IL

Central Park, New York, NY

Saratoga Springs, NY

Charlotte, NC

Washington, DC

Greensboro, NC

Charlotte, NC

My Aunt Meme in Birmingham, AL

My cousin Ginny in Birmingham, AL

Coker Arboretum, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Columbia, SC

Encinitas, CA

My cousin Lauren in Asheville, NC

Little cousins in Columbus, GA

Washington, DC

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Portland, OR

Bloomfield Hills, MI

San Diego, CA

Wilmington, NC

Washington, DC

East Northport, NY

Clifton Forge, VA

Charlotte, NC

Portland, OR

Montana City, MT

Nashville, TN

Central Park, New York, NY

Richmond, VA

Chicago, IL

Columbia, SC

Durham, NC

Durham, NC

Baton Rouge, LA

Durham, NC

Tallahassee, FL

Columbia, SC

Bradenton, FL

Greensboro, NC

Texas Renaissance Fair


Ontario, Canada

Lexington, VA

Edgewater, MD
Columbus, OH
Baton Rouge, LA

Greensboro, NC

My nieces in Monroe, NC

5/18/11--Edited to add:
Atlanta, GA

Birmingham, AL
East Rutherford, NJ

The Palm Coast, Florida

Edited 5/22/11 to add:

Topsail Beach, NC

Other places where folks let me know they blew bubbles but could not get photos:

Hampshire, England
Oakland, CA
Carrboro, NC
Santa Fe, NM
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Boston, MA
Kempenfelt Bay, Ontario, Canada
Raleigh, NC
Memphis, TN
Outer Banks, NC
South Africa

Edited to add (Some of these I knew about yesterday but had accidentally omitted-- I was collecting them from so many places! So sorry!):

Bronx, NY
Bloomington, IN
UNC School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC
Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA
Fort Collins, CO
Visalia, CA
Prairie Village, KS
Hamilton, New Zealand
Cary, NC
Indianapolis, IN
Farmville, IL

5/22/11 Edited to add:

Melbourne, Australia
Cape May, NJ

I tried to include at least one photo from every person who either emailed photos to me or posted some on Facebook.  I made the assumption that if you did either, you would be OK with me posting your photo here on the blog, but if that assumption was wrong, PLEASE dont hesitate to email me and let me know that youd like for me to remove yours. Im keenly aware that not everyone wants photos of their kids on the internet for everyone to see. Sometimes I wasnt sure where folks were from, so those captions are blank (but the photos are still amazing).

Also, a friend is going to make a map of all the places where bubbles were blown for Hudson, so if I inadvertently missed you or you would like your location to be included, please let us know in the comments. 

Thank you all so much.